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Post-American Revolution Male-Centered Discourse and its Oppressive Effects on Women Literature

by Ashley Sherman

From the appallingly small number of classes that versify their students on the historical overview of women’s subjection, the impact of discourse remains routinely overlooked. Yet, within most societies, discourse remains the catalyst for all pivotal historical events, as well as the creator of the causes and effects that preceded or followed. This paper examines the intricate ties between post-American Revolution, male-centered discourse and its oppressive effects on women’s literature. It draws contrasts between the writings of four women writers between the years 1780-1820 and each woman’s utilization and comprehension of male-centered discourse within their writing, Mary Wollstonecraft, Judith Sargent Murray, Abigail Adams and Martha Laurens Ramsay. It reveals the subjected images women created for themselves through their literature, which would ultimately add to their subjection in the future. More importantly, it reveals women’s obliviousness to male-centered discourse, and its creation of the repetitious cycle of subjection.

About the Author

Currently, Ashley is a junior English Writing Studies major, attending Millersville University. Additionally, Ashley Sherman maintains an extreme interest in participating in academic research, focusing specifically on the relations, influences and effects of discourse and journalism. It is her belief that from the number of classes that versify their students in English, both discourse and journalism remain routinely overlooked and underappreciated. Following her current research, Ashley has dedicated herself to attending conferences in order to help better society through the promotion of educating the populous on the importance of discourse and journalism. Conferences included the Made in Millersville Conference and the English Association of Pennsylvania State University’s Conference, where Ashley planned to present her current research: “Post-American Revolution male-centered discourse and its oppressive effects on women’s literature” and “’You’re a What:’ Angsty Teens and Flaky Tree Huggers in Contemporary Wicca.” Externally, Ashley has had the privilege to attend the Student Journalism Conference, in New York City, this past month. Hosted by the liberal magazine, The Nation, attending such a prestigious conference served as a platform for open communication and debate, providing the opportunity to not only share collaborative ideas with fellow independent journalists, but a setting through which social movements, and the abilities of the press, could be discussed.

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